2013: Civil Rights 50th Year Commemoration

Jan 19, 2012, 12:09 ET from Birmingham Mayor's Office of Public Information

Mayor of Birmingham joins with Mayors of other southern cities to launch commemorative event series

WASHINGTON, Jan. 19, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Mayor William Bell and the City of Birmingham are pleased to be collaborating with other great southern cities to honor the past and celebrate the future.  Mayor William A. Bell, Sr. will join Mayor Harvey Johnson of Jackson, MI; Mayor A. C. Wharton Jr. of Memphis, TN; Mayor Vincent Gray of Washington, DC; Mayor Steve Benjamin of Columbia, SC; and Mayor George Patrick Evans of Selma, AL to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Movement.

2013 marks fifty years of both struggle and success as each of these cities reflect on the events in 1963 that changed the world: An afternoon at a lunch counter. A thousand arms linked at the elbow. A line of fire hoses. A pack of German shepherds. A letter from a Birmingham Jail. A children's crusade. A devastating explosion. A year where the South would make a statement for equality and justice that would be heard worldwide.

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Movement, these six cities will launch a series of events focused on sharing the stories of triumph and struggle from the Civil Rights Movement with a new generation, improving individual and collective identities through education, encouraging cultural exchange, and strengthening relationships that ultimately drive economic development.

Mayor Bell will host participating Mayors in Washington, DC at the National Press Club, Bloomberg Room for the official announcement on January 20, 2012 at 9:30 a.m.

The announcement will include local and state convention and visitors bureau(s) campaigns, public/private grant and partnership opportunities and master schedule of year long activities and events. The action plan calls for a tourism experience with a "heritage trail" that links each city through existing landmarks and a traveling exhibit with artifacts and multimedia. Additionally, through a Mayors' Exchange Program each Mayor will visit the others' cities to support on-going cultural activities to advance best practices and technologies in the U.S., as well as internationally seeking the assistance of the Sister Cities Program.

Additional participating cities are anticipated, and planning will begin in each city for community activities with their respective civic and faith-based groups that will be incorporated into the schedule. 

"This is an opportunity for each of these cities to show the progress that has been made, while advancing discussions on human rights worldwide. Birmingham was the catalyst for worldwide change and awareness of Civil Rights and ultimately human rights," said Mayor William Bell.

While the tragedies of the past still challenge perceptions of the present, 2013 presents an opportunity to positively influence the future. Currently Mayor Bell is traveling in Beijing, China as one of only eight mayors selected from the U.S. to participate in a sustainable cities program. Bell stated, "As Mayor of Birmingham, the cradle of the civil rights movement and the energizer of the human rights movement, I encourage us all to use our past to build our future."

Information of upcoming events and opportunities will be posted on www.birminghamal.gov as plans are made.

SOURCE Birmingham Mayor's Office of Public Information